Happy Valley (southeast of Portland)
Happy Valley Station, 13551 SE 145th Avenue
What exactly is a rye beer? Well, as the name might suggest, it’s a beer in which some portion of the barley malt is replaced with rye (usually malted rye), a lesser-known but similar grain. But there’s a lot more to it than that, especially in the beercentric Northwest, and that’s what Rye Beer Fest founder Kerry Finsand aims to teach ale aficionados at this flavorful and educational beer event held each year as part of the citywide Portland Beer Week.
Rye Beer Fest – Best USA Festivals Photo Gallery
Rye Beer Fest brings the region’s best rye beers— upwards of two dozen of them—under one roof, and perhaps the first thing attendees learn is just how much wonderful variation occurs in the flavor profiles of rye beers coming from brewers throughout the state.
Rye beers can be earthy, tart, or spicy, and this family-friendly event (21-and-over for beer sampling/drinking) features a curated tap list consisting of a variety of beer styles utilizing this impactful grain. Expect rye beers ranging from saisons and IPAs to the traditional German style of Roggenbier. Each year, Rye Beer Fest features a wide assortment of breweries, from longstanding favorites to newly launched up-and-comers. Past lineups have included the likes of Stormbreaker (Portland), Ordnance (Boardman), Vagabond (Salem), Sedition (The Dalles), Bent Shovel (Oregon City), and many more.
Entry to the festival is free, but an inexpensive ticket package is needed to drink beer and includes four drink tickets (eight tickets with advance purchase online) plus the official event tasting glass; additional tickets are available for purchase (most beers cost one ticket per four-ounce sample and four tickets for a glassful). Food is available in eclectic abundance thanks to the eighteen food carts at Happy Valley Station, a you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it innovative, 3,800-square-foot, temperature-controlled food-cart pod.
Oregon’s only rye beer festival—and one of the few anywhere in the world—not only provides a joyous educational celebration of these unique ales, but also serves the community by donating proceeds to New Avenues For Youth, a local nonprofit that supports homeless and at-risk youth in Portland.
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